tv Politics Nation MSNBC September 13, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
if he was curious about anything, had discovered anything in life, he has yet to let it out. the great writer william manchester described the 1948 campaign of tom dewey, providing the latest thing in media equipment, and disseminate whatever he wished to say. he wished to say nothing. and that could end up be the ep pi tat for romney in 20 to 12. he didn't want to say anything. thank you for being with us. that's it for "hardball." "politicsnation" starts right now with al sharpton. >> thanks, chris. and thanks to you for tuning in. tond's lead, 44 hours later and no apology from governor romney. and not repeating his ugly claim that president obama was apologizing for america in the wake of the tragedy in libya.
but here's what happened as he began to address the subject. >> we're thinking about the families and those he left behind. >> why are you poll lit advertising libya? it's a question that many is beginning to ask the question and want answered. it's now been two days since his first disgraceful criticism of this country's response to the violent attacks that left four dead. today a launch checker was flat out wrong. here are the headlines. romney misstates facts, romney gets it backward. fact checker says no to romney.
apology claims. let's be clear. governor romney claims the obama administration apologized for american values after u.s. embassies were attacked. this is not true. and the president agrees. >> it appears that governor romney doesn't have his facts right. >> criticism of the president in moments when americans are under attack is no time for politics and to have the facts wrong just compounds the wrong. so knowing this, why wouldn't he correct the record? why won't he admit the mistake? because it fits right into the political attack he and paul ryan have been trying to make, that president obama weakens america by apologizing for america. it's an awful, mean-spirited claim and most shocking. that the president sympathizes with terrorists. >> the administration was wrong
to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in egypt instead of condemning their actions. >> i disagree that the administration put out in cairo sympathizing with those who were storming the embassy. >> sympathizing with those storming the embassy. think about this. romney and ryan are saying that the president of the united states states sympathizes with terrorists. it should be shocking, yet again they are trying to paint president obama as the other. governor romney also attacked the president's american values. >> a terrible course for america to stand in apology for our values an apology for america's values is never the right
course. a statement which is akin to an apology is disgraceful, to apologize for american values. >> it's absurd, of course. here's how president obama talked today about his real american values. >> to all those who would do us harm, no act of terror would go unpunished. it will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world, no act of violence shakes the resolve of the united states of america. we're a nation bound together by a creed. the idea that all men and women are created equal, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain rights. >> the most powerful nation on earth is to defend and attack and advance our people but also to defend and protect and advance those values at home and around the world. that's what we believe he will
do or say anything to win. joining us is joan walsh and david corn, washington bureau chief, also an msnbc political analyst. thanks to both of you for being here tonight. >> sure thing. >> david, romney touted back today but still he has not corrected his mistake. what is your assessment about this. >> when you write a book called "no apology" you put yourself in a bad position. i don't know what he does at home with ann but to call the
president a sympathizer with people who kill americans is to essentially equate him with treasoness behavior. someone needs to say to him, have you no decency? you know, you've got mark halperin, people in the middle, a few people on the right saying that he really set a new low. and i have to think that the guy who gave us romney care, the guy who helps his neighbors through his mormon church does have an inkling of a conscience and must know the tragic death before americans and yet he is so boxed in that he can't come back to daylight. >> joan, it's not only not true about the president saying or
doing that -- >> right. >> -- it's not even true in the sequence of events. the statement that was put out before there was an attack. so that even is factually wrong with the sequence, yet some right-wing pundits are backing romney up. listen to this. >> he should be very aggressive and adamant in his attacks on obama's record. >> they were testing us with the initial attacks and what do they get back from the obama administration? a complaint about -- about some -- this protectual film. >> you have obama apologizing for america. >> i was thankful that we had a leader that defended the united states of america and said that there will be consequences if you attack. >> well, this is the consistent -- >> i mean, they all conveniently leave out the statement that was
made it was the calmest situation and there had been no attacks. >> so it wasn't apologizing for the attacks, wasn't responding for the attacks and also not coming from the president. and you know, reverend al, david corn and i also agree but i have to take issue with him on this. because i'm not sure that we know that mitt romney has a core, has a soul, has a conscience anymore. i think this is a deliberate decision and we saw a piece of information that came out in the pugh poll that shows that the number of conservatives that believe that our president is a muslim has doubled since october 2008. that is the point. every time john boehner says it's not my job to the tell the american people what to think and every time rick santorum doesn't established stand up to our audience and every time mitt romney accuses him of sympathizing of people who murder americans, they are playing on the only card they've got left, which is that fear and that wrong belief that our president is muslim. they are doing it deliberately.
>> and this other things, because, david, you are talking about -- let's be real clear. you're talking about the man that killed osama bin laden, or gave the order to kill bin laden. i mean, let's go through the record. how can you take this man and say he's killing terrorists when he did with the preceding president couldn't or wouldn't or didn't do. >> and you know our friends on the left side get upset that obama's using drones to take out dozens of al qaeda leaders, he was very forceful, more forceful than european allies in getting rid of moammar gadhafi who was a muslim the last time i checked. so he hasn't sympathized with those people. to me what is sort of bizarre here, when you get out there and a guy who killed osama bin laden and you say that he's appeasing and apologizing, joan is right. that only plays to the far right base. if romney hasn't figured this out yet, we're not in the
primaries any longer. >> right. >> i have a hard time believing that independents go for that. when they hear politicians and pundits in the middle say that it's a low blow, that means more to them than what michelle or ann or rush limbaugh is going to say. it could be that romney is so embedded in the need to play indicate conserve it tiffs in the primary season that he can't break free from that and he's trapped in this bizarre planet. >> when we look at that, joan, one in five people in ohio think the president is muslim, when we hear this language of reince priebus, the chair of the dnc tweeted just hours after romney's first comment that obama sympathizes with the attackers in egypt, sad and pathetic, you know, they couldn't have all just picked this up by some coincidence. it's almost like a strategy to
make him a terrorist sympathizer, a muslim, even though there is nothing wrong with them if that is their religion and to make him other than american. and this are all kind of implications on that, joan. >> they have been saying that all along, reverend al. and david is right. normally a man or a woman -- hopefully some day a woman -- comes out of the primary season and attacks to the center, whether they are a republican or democrat, they want to talk to the swing voters. but this year they don't see a course for them in doing that. every once in a while romney will say something like, oh, i like parts of obama care and then he has to reverse himself. this is going to be a base strategy. it's about appealing to the core of their base, the zenith-phobic sometimes fearful core and that is what they are comfortable doing, whether it's reince priebus or mitt romney himself. that is what they are up to. >> let me tell you why i am suggesting that it may be more
of a coincidence because in 2006 the bush administration condemned danish cartoons that sparked protests. let me show you this. mr. bush, administration, sean mccormack said, quote, we find them offensive and we certainly understand why muslims would find these images offensive. now, did he apologize? was he sympathizing with those that were protesting? so it is clear that they are taking this position for desperate, political reasons or other reasons because they have not taken this position when george bush and the republicans were in the white house and had protests and cartoons in the dangerous cartoons. >> don't tell me, reverend, that you're expecting consistency out of that side. but i -- you know, after what you said and joan says, i wonder if they have internal polling
showing that he's just not making enough headway with the independents. >> right. >> because of bain, because of his own taxes, because of his inability to campaign as a human being, whatever it might be, and that the only chance that they think they have in places like ohio, florida, and virginia, is squeezing every single vote out of the far right base that they can manage, which is kind of the bush strategy in ohio against john kerry in 2004 using the -- you know, the state proposition against guy marriage and other things to get out all of those mega churches and the far right vote. they are just going to keep finding these fake, phony issues and they are not going to be dictated to by fact checkers. >> well, joan walsh and david corn, i think the sad part is the step over four american bodies to do this. this is also despicable. thank you for joining me tonight. >> thanks, reverend al.
>> thank you. shoot first, aim later is how president obama described governor romney. so it's no surprise the bush ies have his back. donald rumsfeld is leading the defense. plus, it's the burning question. why is governor romney doing this? why is he so desperate? we know why. tonight, some big news in the swing states just came out. and fireworks inside the courtroom. the voter i.d. law goes to the pennsylvania supreme court. it's all on the line. ground zero in the fight for your voting rights. we're live in philadelphia tonight. you're watching "politicsnation" on msnbc. in america today we're running out of a vital resource we need
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they are back. guess who is defending the romney team? that's right. here comes the bush brigade. time to duck and cover. that's next. [ kate ] many women may not be properly absorbing the calcium they take because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. that's why my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption. a short word that's a tall order. up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people
while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again. romney has a tendency to shoot first and aim later. as president, i've learned you can't do that. >> shoot first and aim later. that's president obama's take on governor romney's approach on foreign policy. i know that foreign policy. i remember that foreign policy.
i live through that foreign policy. shoot first and aim later defined the bush administration. and while most republicans are staying away from the romney controversy, the bush team is circling the wagons. liz cheney is saying that america is no longer feared in a wall street op ed today and then there's the dan, senior, the spokesman for the u.s.-led government in iraq under president bush. now a romney adviser who thinks obama's middle east policy is a disaster. now how that's for irony? a man who defended the war in iraq is slamming president obama on foreign policy. and here comes the big one. donald rumsfeld, the man who helped leaders into two disastrous wars is weighing in. >> you don't see these kinds of things happening unless the people engaging in them are
pretty darn sure that there's no penalty for it. >> as bill clinton would say, this takes brass. there were 12 -- 12 attacks on u.s. diplomatic fa till teas under george bush. eight while rumsfeld was serving. how is that for hypocrisy? and what's worst, these are the folks that romney is aligning himself with. they are the people coming to his defense and guiding his policies. do we really want to go back to shoot and aim later? joining me now is michael tomaski, special kor spoon dend for newsweek and the daily beast. he's writing today about mitt romney's total neocon melt down. thanks for coming on the show tonight. >> my pleasure, al. >> you talk extensively about the romney connection to the bush foreign policy in your column.
why is romney doubling down on it? >> he's doubling down because he's as joan said in the previous statement, he probably doesn't have anywhere else to go, he has some pathological need that goes beyond the strategy and needs some approval in a strange way. i don't know what he actually believes. he needs nothing but needs the approval of this group and feels that he needs the support of this group to get to the white house. the scary thing about it, for all of us and not just for democrats and lib brals but for all americans and tlash vote is, as your setup said, a return to those kinds of foreign policy, to that kind of bellacose, you are with us or against us foreign policy thatreated all of this trouble in the first place. so many of his advisers, al, as you know, are bush administration veterans and, you know, we're gearing up for a
replay of bush foreign policy. >> well, then let's get specific, mike. john baltan, he's a former bush administration. he turned on the bush administration for not being more hawkish on iran. he once suggested a nuclear eye tack on iran and he's one of mr. bush's -- mr. romney's advisers, torture techniques for the cia and a former vice chairman. he's an adviser to mr. romney. michael hayden was a national security agency director and cia director under bush and designed bush's domestic spying program at nsa. it's on and on and on. these are the people advising him on foreign policy. >> it's quite a lineup and they are the kind of people that if he is elected will be serving in
some way. you know the rumors as well as i do. that john bolton is on the list of pressure groups to become the secretary of state if romney is the president. >> let me again show you how right you are he said that the qualities that should typify our foreign policy. unbelievable. >> it's unbelievable. and voters should consider what is going to take place in the next four years, with netanyahu to strike a launch against iran. >> right. >> with what is going on in syria. iran and syria, and you put those two together, al, as you
know, that is a very serious -- a rock is a aaa farm team compared to getting involved in iran and syria. if these people want to start wars in iran and syria, you could well be talking -- i'm not being hyper bol lick here. you could be talking about world war iii. >> michael, that is frightening. but you said that there was some psychological need, not just strategic. what do you mean by that? >>. >> well, the evidence that i see goes beyond what basic political strategy would suggest. on every single issue -- every single issue, foreign and domestic, i really can't think of one issue over the course of the past -- you know, 14 months or whatever it is on which he
has placated to the ridght. within two hours he went on a right-wing radio show and said, no, of course i support that bill. that's the pattern. that's the pattern. it's as if -- i don't know. it's as if -- david corn was talking about it in the last segment. it's as if he doesn't -- he's missing something inside him that he's trying to find by doing this or something. >> well, we're going to keep watching it and keep seeing where this goes. michael tomasky, thank you for your time this evening. >> thank you. likewise. still ahead, new reports about the desperate motives behind romney's middle east policy. first, we'll look at how romney's policies are trying to defend the indefensible. stay with us. i have a cold, and i took nyquil,
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got the memo. the romney memo says, we will not apologize to our constitutional right to freedom of speech. >> very good. free speech. you nailed that talking point. the obama campaign is now attacking the governor romney for being critical of the same statement that the romney campaign disavowed. >> the administration itself disavowed. >> what i'm saying is frankly what the white house is saying now. >> not bad. i like how you got disavowed in there. you're distorting the facts but really hitting the message. now for a tough one. romney memo.
did governor romney jump the gun? no. it's never too soon to stand up for american values. here's the romney advisers attempt to pull that off. >> i think that was his first reaction and i think it was a correct reaction. we don't want to change it. >> we'll give you that one an a for effort and an "f" for decency. it just went downhill from there. but, hey, they have some great talking points. did you think we wouldn't notice that they are on message but totally out of line? nice try but we've got you. companies have to invest in making things. infrastructure, construction, production. we need it now more than ever. chevron's putting more than $8 billion dollars back in the u.s. economy this year. in pipes, cement, steel, jobs, energy. we need to get the wheels turning.
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article today about the thinking behind his decision to go big on the attacks. the times says, quote, already on the defensive for not mentioning afghanistan in his convention speech and losing some ground in recent polls, mr. romney saw an opportunity to draw a stark contrast. in fact, romney was so eager to pounce on this that he personally approved and read a campaign statement before it was sent out. mr. romney needed a distraction from his flailing campaign, a way to change the subject from his sinking poll numbers. but it turns out the cure has been worse than the disease. joining me now is democratic strategist bob shrum, senior adviser to the kerry campaign and alicia mendez, host and
producer for huff post live. thank you both for joining me. >> glad to be here. >> bob, what strategist would possibly think this is a good idea? >> the same kind of strategist who led george armstrong to the battle of the big horn. custer embraced that opportunity. romney created a distraction. he also came apparent as a transparent tune open oh por tune nift. i used to think that his campaign was deficient. i just now think he's a bad candidate. he has instinct tifly bad judgment. we saw it in the primary debate and his overseas trip and we've seen it this time. he lost the summer, he lost the convention and this week he lost his head. >> alicia, but aside from a bad candidate, we are talking about
four american officials dead. at what point out of a sense of decency, a respect for their families and patriotrism do we stop and say wait a minute here maybe i jumped too quickly and let's put politics aside and deal with the situation? >> well, if you're waiting for an apology from mitt romney or his campaign, i wouldn't wait for very long. we know that that is not his and foreign policy issues about 12 points over mitt romney and we understand why. what he did is deeply unpresidential, irresponsible, it was really rude and insensitive to the families who did lose people. this should not have been politicized and he should have followed the lead of other americans who praised secretary clinton, praised president obama for their handling of the
situation and leave it at that. >> well, bob, alicia mentioned poll numbers. when the question was raised about handling foreign policy issues, president obama, 54, governor romney, 39. even on economy and jobs, which was romney's strong suit, fox news has them tied. cnn has obama up 1. washington post has them up 2 on jobs and the economy where he was trailing before. >> yeah, i think that's a trend that's going to continue. i think it came out of the democratic convention. it's also probably coming out of the real world. look, romney today, another act of opportunism, he's rooting for a recession. alicia is right. he doesn't have the judgment to be president. what do we elect these guys for?
we elect them because of their programs, because they stand for certain things but ultimately we elect these guys or some day hopefully a woman because they have the judgment to sit in the oval office and face an unexpected crisis and dot right thing. whenever he's presented with something unexpected, mitt romney seems almost instinctively to do the wrong thing. he's not fit for the presidency. >> alicia, the president in swing states in a new nbc marist poll, in ohio, president obama is up 7 points n. florida, 5 points. in virginia, he's up 5 point. this is real, real, real bad news for mr. romney. >> it is bad news for mitt romney. you know, i do think that we'll continue to see those numbers close as we get closer and
closer to november. if obama can take florida, this is game over. you see them doubling down with advertisements in the miami media market. he's maintaining a really healthy lead in that region. you see, conversely, romney obtaining a healthy lead. there's a lot of work that both campaigns will do there. there's a lot of time between now and election day and it comes down to who has the best game on the ground. people are going to spend millions in advertising. that's beginning right now. >> bob, the fact that you're seeing this shift in these poll numbers that just came out tonight, ohio, florida, virginia, let's listen to bill cloe clinton who spoke at the dnc. i want to show you highlights. >> i love watching this. >> we're all in this together is
a far better philosophy than you're on your own. >> i actually never learned to hate them the way the far right who controls their party seems to hate our president. it takes some brass for you to hate for what you're doing. arithmetic. no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years. >> in these swing states, do you think bill clinton's speech was the beginning the turnaround for the president in these states? >> i think it was a big part of the turnaround. i think the whole convention helped turn it around. you know, the president did something very interesting and i may have said this before. he kind of took out the trash. he answered all of these arguments that the republicans are making and that obama could come in and give a speech who says, here's where i want to go, here's where i want to take the
future. the argument thaw heard from a lot of pundits about the president's speech, totally wrong. i believe that speech was tested as was given and went through the roof. but you put those two speeches together and i think you have a situation where, as time goes on, unless romney does something in this first debate that we don't expect, i'm not sure these polls are going to close that much. people have decided obama is better on foreign policy, bush caused the economic mess and it is going to get better. >> bob shrum and alicia menendez, thank you both for your time. >> thank you. coming up, ground zero in the fight for your voting rights. fireworks inside the pennsylvania supreme court. we're live in philadelphia. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be nice if there was an easier,
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>> could it be politics, maybe? now it enables a certain person to win? >> here's what the justice was talking about. of this doozy of a line from the house republican majority leader. >> voter i.d., which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania, done. >> also today, the lawyer for the state who is trying to defend his voter i.d. law was literally laughed at when he claimed it was easy to get a voter i.d. >> the burden, it seems to me, is quite minimal. >> it's minimal if you have a voter i.d. >> it is minimal if you don't because most people can get voter i.d.s quite easily. >> and one justice delivered this devastating critique of the absurdity of the voter i.d. law. >> my court photo i.d. for the supreme court of pennsylvania
with the chief justice's signature on it actually unlocks doors to this building, but yet it does not qualify because it does not have an expiration date on it. >> unbelievable. the court voter i.d. is not good enough to let him vote. now it's up to five our justices to decide the uphold the law. joining me now is democratic state senator daylin leach. he's been a leader in the fight against the new voter i.d. law. thank you both for joining me. >> state senator, let me start with you. state senator leach, you are in the courtroom today. so there are three republicans and three democratic justices. what do you expect to happen? >> well, i think it would not only be unfortunate, it would undermine confidence in the
court as a judicial body rather than a political body. watching the questioning and it's always risky to make predictions based on the questioning of justices but there seems to be a real in how long it would take everyone to get the i.d. and a lot of talk about if we delay these two years, it would take a lot more time to get the i.d. for people but also wheats the hurry? that question was asked over and over again, what's the hurry? and the only thing the state could say, there really is no hurry but the legislature decided it that way so we should defer to them. that didn't seem to impress a lot of justices. my feeling is it's not a split decision where actually have the court weigh in on this and i think there's a really good chance we'll see a delay in the implementation rule of this law. >> we've had one judge uphold it. it's up to these sixes overturn it. congressman, you have been passionate about this issue.
up to 1.5 million pennsylvania voters don't have voter i.d. this could literally not only determine the election in terms of your state but it could literally disenfranchise over a million voters in your state. >> ref repd, let me tell you something. we have seen the courts in florida, texas, ohio, and i think you're going to see a very substantial majority of the state supreme court, not just strike down the law but uphold the state constitution which says that in our state constitution that one's right to vote cannot be appraised in any way. the great state senator is correct that the action in the court was telling because the justices were asking very determined questions and i think that the state's attorneys were not in a very good position to argue that point of view. i'm very optimistic but let me
assure you, no matter what the ruling -- >> so you think from what you saw in the court today that they may vote against the voter i.d. law. you are more optimistic than most of us? >> i am very optimistic that we're going to get a strong majority of the court to either delay the implementation or strike down the law altogether and i don't think it's going to be a partisan vote. the justices, i think on the point that you focused on, the fact that their own i.d. would not allow in the vote, military i.d.s which in the case of many of our military don't have expiration dates or any employee of a school district wouldn't allow their i.d. to be used. >> senator leach, i see you trying to get in here. >> i'm. if i could just make a subtle point here which is the justices asked us lawyers for our side. if everyone had an i.d. the law still be unconstitutional?
and the answer is no, the unconstitutional is in the burden of getting the i.d. they will uphold the concept based on those questions but how long will it take the i.d.s to get to everyone in pennsylvania and the feeling of the justice was at least two years. there was some discussion about the carter/baker, which would be four years but the justices over and over again said, is ten weeks, or whatever it is, until the election, or eight weeks, is that really sufficient and there was no indication that they believe that that was a sufficient period of time. so i don't think they will strike down the entire law. i think they will delay implementation and then require us to put the resources in to making sure that people can get these i.d.s. >> well, congressman, there was a back and forth, a major part of the hearing today was on the timing. let me play a little bit of
that. >> there is too little time. there is too many people affected. >> my question is, what's the rush? who is it going to hurt. >> how much better could we do, though, if we had two years to implement this rather than another 50 or 55 days? >> i think if we had two years we could do better. >> what's the rush? what's the rush? >> what's the rush, congressman? >> well, look, i think that the court is headed in the right direction here and i think that no one has a complaint about using an i.d. the problem is they credit a very specific i.d. >> right. >> you have to go to a transportation office and many counties, they don't even have an office for the pennsylvania department of transportation and you have to supply information and if you're born outside the state or elderly, it might be hard for to you get. so i think the burden is substantial. the risks of disenfranchising so many voters i think is a concern of the court. so i was very pleased with the ruling today. no matter what happens in this
court, we've got to make sure that in pennsylvania with we can proceed with an orderly election and we'll figure out how to go forward from there. >> now, senator leach, the governor, tom corbett of your state, claims that the voter i.d. law wouldn't interfere with the right to vote. listen to this. >> contrary to some claims, this bill does not interfere with anyone's legal right to vote. it prevents people from cheating in our elections. some have argued that there is no evidence of voter fraud. i don't necessarily agree with that. this is to prevent voter fraud. >> the fact is they have not been able to establish a lot of fraud in your state at all. isn't that right? >> zero cases. there was a lot of questions about that today by the justices and all the state could do was say, well, there's no actual
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there's been a lot of focus to mitt romney's response to the tragic events in the middle east but not enough attention has been paid to president obams handling of the crisis. he's been serious, divisive, and he's vowed that justice will be done. >> we are going to bring those who killed our fellow americans to justice. [ applause ] i want people around the world to hear me, to all those who do us harm, no act much terror will go unpunished. no act of violence shakes the united states of america. >> the president has already put drones in the skies over libya and deployed marines to safeguard americans.
he's also moved two warships to the libyan coast. so these aren't empty threats. this president has shown his resolve. remember, he promised to get osama bin laden and he did. but the president also deserves praise for how he's handled the other side of his job, as a uniter, he has comforted employees at the state department who lost their colleagues in libya. he's spoken to a grieving nation about their loss and the sa sacrifice they made. >> yesterday i had a chance to go over to the state department and talk to friends and colleagues about those who were killed. >> they do an outstanding job every single day. >> over the last 3 1/2 years we've heard the president referred to as too